Last month, Bose added Bluetooth wireless to its top drawer active noise cancellation technology for the impressive, Momentum-beating QuietComfort 35 over-ear headphones. Sennheiser has returned the power serve with a pair of noise-canceling wireless cans designed for extended use – the PXC 550 Wireless headphones.
The PXC 550 Wireless over-ears step into the shoes of the aging, but still highly-regarded, PXC 450 noise-canceling headphones and are aimed directly at the business traveler.
Leading Sennheiser's performance charge is a battery life between charges of up to 30 hours (significantly more than the QC35s), though that's likely to dip a bit when the NoiseGard hybrid adaptive noise cancellation circuitry is engaged. Even so, the company does say that users should be able to "travel from London to Hong Kong and back on a single charge." Charging time is 3 hours.
In our experience, Sennheiser headphones generally deliver in the sound quality department, but if users are not keen on the four presets available, the listening experience can be personalized with the help of a companion mobile app for iOS and Android called CapTune.
Frequency response is reported as 17 Hz to 23 kHz, total harmonic distortion is less than 0.5 percent (1 kHz, 100 dB) and SPL is 110 dB.
"Supreme comfort" comes courtesy of ear-shaped ergonomics, and the headphones fold flat to be stowed away in the provided travel case between trips. The PXC 550s tip the scales at 227 g (8 oz).
Elsewhere, the headphones sport touch controls on the earcup for playback and taking calls, with Sennheiser promising crystal clear call-taking thanks to a three microphone array, and NFC device pairing. The wireless tech is bang up date, coming in the shape of Bluetooth 4.2 with aptX support. Playback will also be automatically paused when the headphones are removed.
The Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless headphones will be available later this month for US$399.
Update July 13: Sennheiser has now confirmed battery life details. The company says that users can look forward to "up to 30 hours when connecting the headphones via cable and engaging noise cancellation." Or "around 20 hours when connecting the headphones via Bluetooth and engaging noise cancellation."